- BBC News World
The scenes of chaos and destruction caused by the attacks on the National Congress, the Presidency and Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court by followers of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro were reminiscent of those in Washington two years ago.
Later, thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to stop the certification of elections that awarded the winner to his political rival, incumbent President Joe Biden.
How are the two attacks similar and how are they different?
In both cases, protesters have forcibly seized institutional buildings, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
In both Washington and Brasilia, the attackers outnumbered the small number of police officers who tried to stop them, entered, smashed windows and forced open doors.
On Sunday, the Bolsoneristas pulled out of the neighborhood Military HeadquartersSupporters of the former president, who have been calling for military intervention since Lula’s victory, gathered and marched some eight kilometers to the Plaza de los Tres Potares in Brasilia to storm the republic’s main buildings.
Dressed in the colors of the national flag, the attackers wreaked havoc and destroyed everything in their path. They broke glass, valuable antique furniture, as well as works of art, computer equipment and files.
As happened in the Capitol on January 6, 2021, many videos on social networks showed how some of the protagonists They took the “trophies”. of the Brazilian Congress.
In both cases, many of the protesters came from far parts of the country.
As for Washington, protesters gathered in the morning on the Esplanade, known as “The Ellipse,” in front of the White House, to hear speeches from Trump and some of his allies. From there they marched to the Capitol. Many had come the previous day.
In Brazil, Dozens of buses Participants in the attack had arrived in the capital from other parts of Brazil in the previous hours to join Bolsonaro’s camp. According to Justice Minister Flavio Dino, 40 of these buses have been identified and who financed them.
Violence is not the only thing.
According to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, 70 people were injured on Sunday, including police officers and journalists who were attacked by the mob. At the very least 1,200 people have been arrested.
In Washington, five people were killed and 140 officers were wounded. Four police officers who responded to the attack later committed suicide.
Both supporters of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro Without any evidence, fraud is believed to have taken place In elections where their candidates have lost, therefore, they struggle to correct an injustice.
As Trump did (and continues to do in the US), Bolsonaro has spent months pushing the narrative that the elections he defeated were not fair, and he has sown doubts about electronic voting systems. Following the same rhetoric as the former US president.
In closely contested elections, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva won the presidential election on October 30 and took office on January 1.
Lula was able to emerge victorious after the Federal Supreme Court overturned his conviction for corruption after spending 580 days in prison.
A A deeply divided countryA left-wing man’s return to power, precisely his transition from prisoner to president, has been too much for his opponents, given the rise of extremist positions under far-right populist Bolsonaro.
Since Bolsonaro lost the election, many of his followers have been organizing themselves on WhatsApp and Telegram chats, planning demonstrations and encampments in front of camps in various cities across the country.
This is Conspiracy talk Recalls have been part of Donald Trump’s team’s strategy since Brazil lost the election.
Indeed, since losing the election, Bolsonaro’s team, including his son Eduardo, has been in touch with both Trump and his strategists. Steve Bannon Or with his former campaign spokesman Jason Miller, as revealed by the “Washington Post”.
Bannon, a neo-populist far-right ideologue and one of Trump’s key strategists, has described Bolsonaro as a “hero” and floated the theory of alleged “election theft” from his “War Room” podcast and Gedder. A social networking site created by a former US president.
Both attacks occur A couple of months after the election Their candidates failed in that.
Joe Biden won the election on November 3, 2020, although he was not inaugurated as president until January 20, 2021.
Lula won the second round of presidential elections on October 30, 2022, and was sworn in on January 1, a week before the attacks in Brasilia.
In those two months, his followers’ networks and communication channels exploded in attacks on institutions, and the alleged fraudulent rhetoric was never proven.
This weather also allowed raiders Arrange.
As for Brazil, the Ministry of Justice is now investigating not only those who committed Sunday’s acts of violence, but also those who initiated and financed them.
1. Role of Army and Police
Unlike in the US, where the Trumpists were determined to regain power in their own way, Bolsonaro’s supporters in Brazil did not accept their defeat. Calls for military intervention The former president should be sent back to Planaldo Palace.
Until last Sunday, the Brazilian military, which played a leading role during Bolsonaro’s rule, seemed to tolerate these types of protesters camping out in front of its barracks.
“There are leading military figures Supported Bolsonaro’s far-right agenda For a long time, even recently they have shown full support for various demonstrations in support of the coup in different parts of the country in the days before the attack,” says Professor of Latin American History, Rafael R. Ioris, in conversation.
During his presidency, several senior military officers held positions in the government, including MMinistry of Defense or even Health At the peak of the covid pandemic. It is estimated that about 6,000 active military personnel have taken up non-military positions in the government in the last 8 years.
Since taking office, Lula has maintained a “reconciliation” position with the armed forces.
According to historian Carlos Figo, an expert on the military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1964 to 1985, “any government that comes into office now will face difficulties (in its relationship with the military), unless it’s the extreme right again. , I think the attempt to calm things down is understandable,” he told BBC News Brazil. He said in an interview.
The Police role It also created suspicion during the attack.
Brazilian media released the videos Apparent inaction Military policemen from the capital preceded the attackers, even casually chatting with them.
Andersen Torres, the federal district’s security chief who was justice minister under Bolsonaro, has been fired by the governor, and government prosecutors are seeking his arrest.
During the elections, some units of the police were also criticized for setting up police checkpoints on highways to slow access to the polls in areas where Lula was supposed to vote.
2. Trump was still president, Bolsonaro was not
The attack on the Capitol in 2021 still occurred under the orders of Donald Trump. Although he had already lost the election, the president would occupy the White House until January 20, so he held the highest level of power during that time.
However, Bolsonaro left office on December 31 and has been staying in the United States, particularly in Florida.
Some Brazilian media interpreted the game as a strategy To avoid attending the inauguration of his successor, his opponents are eyeing an intercept flight before the end of his presidential immunity, which could bring the former president to justice.
On the same morning of the attack on the Capitol, Donald Trump gave a speech to his supporters in which he vowed never to accept the outcome of the election, and in which he asked his Vice President, Mike Pence, to reverse the outcome.
Although he did not overtly call for violence, the speech was filled with violent images, and he told his supporters to march on the Capitol and “fight like demons,” because if not, “you will no longer have a country.” .
Bolsonaro, however For months, he has been feeding theories that there were electoral irregularitiess, he distanced himself from the events in Brasilia on Sunday.
“Peaceful protests are part of democracy. However, looting and encroachment of public buildings like the one that happened today and the ones practiced by the Left in 2013 and 2017 deviate from the norm,” he said in his Twitter post. .
However, the two leaders took several hours to respond once the incidents started.
This Monday, it was learned that Bolsonaro had been admitted to a Florida hospital, although his condition was not critical.
3. The Capitol was in full session
Another major difference between the two attacks is that when the attack in Brasilia took place on a Sunday, all institutions were closed and Washington the Capitol, the US Congress and Senate building, was in full swing. session.
Not in any session, but in a session that was its mission Certify election results They declared Joe Biden the winner.
So the Trump rebels tried to stop the peaceful transfer of power.
Unlike in the United States, the Polonaristas did not invade alone Seat of legislative power, but also executive and judicial powerOthers, including the military, can wait to join their fight.
The Brazilian protesters wandered around the beautiful Oscar Niemeyer-designed buildings empty-handed, encountering no obstacles until the police evicted them.
However, in the attack on the Capitol, the building was filled with political representatives and their entourages, as well as journalists and security forces. Panic Among those who were
Many had to hide in their seats in their offices, others in their rooms, after which they were driven out in scenes never before seen in that country.
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